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NBC TV President Quits to Make PolyGram Film Bid

Television: Network appoints chief of broadcast operations to take over the post.

July 30, 1998|From Staff and Wire Reports

Neil Braun, president of the NBC television network, said Wednesday that he is leaving his position to mount a bid for PolyGram Filmed Entertainment.

NBC Inc., going through a turbulent period with its affiliate TV stations, said Randy Falco, who oversees broadcast operations, will become the television network's president Sept. 1.

Braun said that leaving NBC, a unit of General Electric Co., was a mutual decision with NBC Inc. President Bob Wright.

"My contract was up, and Bob and I decided this was the best thing to do," said Braun, who had been at the network just over four years. "I wanted to do something entrepreneurial."

Braun said he has teamed up with a close friend, Marty Tudor, a personal talent manager and corporate advisor based in Los Angeles, and made a bid to buy the PolyGram film assets from Seagram Co. Braun said the offer is "within the reported range of around a half- billion dollars."

A number of potential bidders, including Canal Plus and EMI, have been reviewing an informational book on the movie company put together by Goldman Sachs. All bids are due today, from which a short list of serious buyers will be culled.

Braun said that at this point, "the book begs more questions than it answers" and that he and Tudor are simply "looking to get into a room to see what's really going on with the company."

Braun was hired by NBC in 1994 after a stint as chairman and chief executive of Viacom's entertainment unit. He was also chief executive of Imagine Films Entertainment Inc., the production company headed by Ron Howard and Brian Glazer.

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